• Member Since 11th Oct, 2011
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I'm older than your average brony, but then I've always enjoyed cartoons. I'm an experienced reviewer, EqD pre-reader, and occasional author.


The griffons demand the return of hunting grounds they owned long ago. But since Princess Luna’s return, Equestria has only grown more formidable, in ways the griffons would never expect.

In a small village of the disputed region, a young mare named Lucky Strike finds herself caught between an immovable object and an irresistible force. Before it’s over, she might hate herself worst of all.

An entry in the Writeoff Association’s “Great Expectations” event.

Featured on Equestria Daily!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 72 )

Interesting, a low as heck move, but effective none the less.

So Luna basically brainwashed griffon children into acting as human shields and betray their own country. Something tells me that shit would not fly at the Geneva conventions. Hell, if anything this gives the griffions a far better casus belli than before if/when they discover the truth.

Neat story, but what exactly happened here? Did Luna just have some griffons dream of being a pony in the besieged village?

Wroth #4 · Sep 10th, 2017 · · 1 ·

Ah.. Effective, at least until that sort of technique comes out that one is quite willing to use children as bait in wars. Nobody wants to be friends with the Child Killers.

The griffon children had a dream where they were ponies in the town that was about to be invaded (the fighting hadn't started yet). They thought it was a vision they all had, but it was actually a dream given to them by Luna. She essentially tricked a bunch of children into acting as a human shield. Celestia knows about it as since she can't look the MC in the eye after its done.

Kinda, yeah. Fine shade of meaning, but it's more that she's making the children see the ponies's side and thus humanize (as it were) the enemy. Of course, then the question becomes whether Luna's creating an accurate portrayal of how griffons view ponies. But Lucky didn't have any dissonance over that once she regained her senses. There are a lot of potential ways to read into it.


Capturing the enemy 's children, indoctrinating them to support your side, using them as hostages ready to take their own lives against their families...
Can only be read as utterly despicable. Luna's use of her dreamwalking abilities to accomplish said effects makes the whole thing even more horrific. :pinkiesick:
Specially when adding the obvious lack of remorse of both her and Celestia regarding such tactics.

iisaw #8 · Sep 10th, 2017 · · 3 ·

Re: comments,
Has empathy become so foreign a concept that it looks like brainwashing to people?

Wroth #9 · Sep 10th, 2017 · · 1 ·

Have you ever pushed dreams onto people so that kids are willing to stand out in the middle of a battlefield, while believing they are other people?

I'm not so sure that's empathy when you aren't even able to tell you aren't the same person you are.


We could ask you the same question.

Empathy: Capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person's frame of reference.
Brainwashing: Changing someone's beliefs or attitudes using intense teaching and/or indoctrination.

Well, the problem is she chose to deliberately target the children without even trying with the adults in the town or the soldiers in the army. That implies that the children being a shield was the main objective and the empathy was just an added bonus. Of course you could argue whether or not if it's actually empathy they're feeling and not just them projecting a life that wasn't actually real. Children are extremely easy to manipulate after all. The fact they're still calling each other by their pony names shows there is still some dissociation.

Lastly there is obviously going to be major bias on Celestia and Luna's part when it comes to this. Accurate portrayal aside, there is absolutely no attempt on the ponies part to emphasize with the griffions, it's purely onesided. It's forcing a resolution in their favor instead of compromising and making a deal. The griffons couldn't win there, either they attack and kill there own people, or pull back and lose something they obviously needed if they were willing to fight for it.

Except that it was established early on that it wasn't something the griffons actually needed. They never made that case, and had it been true, it would have been a more effective appeal to Celestia. Other than that, it's a fair interpretation. Not the only one, but a fair one.

Again, a fair interpretation, though not the only one. I wouldn't personally characterize them as hostages, however, since the ponies didn't have them in physical custody and were making no move to do so.


Except that it was established early on that it wasn't something the griffons actually needed

It sounds like it was land taken from them through war, and then later colonized in an effort to keep it away from them.

I wouldn't personally characterize them as hostages, however, since the ponies didn't have them in physical custody and were making no move to do so.

Here's one definition for Hostage

one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence

They were basically being pushed into this by Luna and couldn't even remember that they weren't ponies. They were mentally confused by an outside party.

I suppose, doesn't change the fact that the griffons owned the land originally and they simply wanted to use it as additional hunting ground. They were more than willing to pay compensation and it was Celestia that flatly refused to negotiate. All in the name of something as absurd as a nation wide wildlife sanctuary. She might as well of said "Fuck you, you're carnivores." Really, until the whole war thing came up, Celestia struck me as being the unreasonable one in that conversation.


If anything Luna´s actions, far for encourage any sort of actual sympathy or understanding between the two races, will produce massive horror and hatred. I can imagine entire generations of gryphons warning about the "witch pony queen of dreams" possessing and enchanting children against their parents.

It is the sort of thing that will make people go "Hmm.. How can we disconnect ourselves or her from the dream realm"

Yeah, that's.... that's gonna be controversial. Well written, but controversy nonetheless.

8419243 On the other hand, we've seen that animals in Equestria are at least somewhat sapient.

That makes the griffins' "hunting ground" sound really different, and Celestia's "nationwide wildlife sanctuary" sound like no more than what's ethically required.

It's a rabbit preserve.
And they get killed and eaten by everything else in the preserve so really nothings changed.
If anything Gryphons would kill cleaner and quicker then a predatory animal would.

8420037 The rabbits would probably say that removing one predator is still a good thing.

And now that you've raised the question... given Equestria's highly-managed ecosystem outside the Everfree, can we really be sure how much predation goes on in the first place?

So; you can have
1) A pitched battle, dozens or hundreds on each side maimed or killed. Plenty of orphans to go around
2) Luna meddles in some griffins kids dreams, and everybody lives.

Hmmm...tough choice.

Most carnivorous species have to eat meat, plants can't substitute their diet like an omnivore.
And even then, it's a rabbit. Partial sapience or not, it's a species that reproduces at such a high rate solely to remove the numbers lost from predation.
Without that they'll either overpopulate or remove to much food from their level of the ecosystem.
Humans tried this with wolves.
Deer started starving to death and killing off the plants they eat because there were simply to many of them.

Haven't read if yet, but the first thing that comes to mind is: the griffons don't even have a government. How can they demand anything, when they make the choice in abject poverty and anarchy?

8420619 I know, it doesn't even say 'Alt Universe', so we must assume this is in the canon world.

Plus, we don't see the griffons ever hunting anything... hell, they seem to subsist on acorn scones for all we know!

They're also very few in number relative to the ponies and lack most of the magic ponies have save for cloudwalking. It would hardly be a war at all.

8420546 Oh I know all about deer. Canada geese too. I'm in NJ. The damned things are everywhere. And hunting is hard because the state's so densely populated. Cars are the biggest predators they have. :P

That said, it's very clear that the griffons are omnivores. Gilda eats apples and cake, and there's a traditional griffon scone recipe that includes acorns.

They probably have a digestive system similar to bears, raccoons, and humans.

The ambassador pushed himself from the table and rose. “What can one more alicorn do?

Celestia couldn't take it anymore, she fell to the floor in a gut-busting guffaw. After several minutes, she managed to control her tears of mirth and address the inbred beakies... (dang beakies and their backwards ways...), "Why would we alicorns even fight? We have THOUSANDS of unicorns who could use telekinesis to freeze your warriors' wings midflight and rip out their feathers! Meanwhile, our pegasi would send tornadoes and lightning through your ranks! Earth ponies would bombard you air and ground with massive boulders! And that's only if any of you feathered fools make it through our FIRST line... Ohhhhh Discooooord!"

Discord pops in, "You bellowed, Sun Butt?"

Celestia fluttered her eyelashes, "Indeed. I just wanted to mention that these fine griffons may have declared their desire to roast Fluttershy alive."

It was noted in the subsequent history books that it was on this day the griffon race became extinct.


8419243 Oh to hell with the griffons! Them dang beakies ain't been no good fer nuthin' far's ah kin recall! An' when ya least 'spect it, they go 'round abductin' and eatin' yer youngins fer their Grogar worship! Yep, the only good beaky's a dead beaky, ah tells ya! We should prolly build camps... that there pony with the little black mustache a-shoutin' on da podium says it'd be a good idea for the fatherland...


8419998 It's harder to justify hunting when the prey can beg for their lives.

Unless you just don't care. Sociopathy for the win! :pinkiecrazy:

8419083 But children make the best bait! It's why political parties ALWAYS say, "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!" whenever they want to throw a ton of money away or restrict liberty these days! They know the stupid suckers will buy it! yep, all you have to do is attach a picture of some wide-eyed Woobie victim to your cause and BOOM! Instant victory!

Oh yes, I know how the mind games work.

It always fails on me because I hate kids. :trixieshiftright:

Nice to see this on Fimfiction. As in the Writeoff, it's a great "princesses being awesome" story that doesn't fall into the usual trap of violent spectacle. Thank you for bringing it here.

An amazing story. Half way through, i thought 'this is great, but the intro portion kind of takes away from the feeling of wartime desolation' , but then it all paid off. I'm still not sure if it would be better without it or not, but it's amazing how such a short story can work so well on two levels. From the kids' perspective, everyone learned a valuable lesson on the value of peace in the face of adversity, but from the adults perspective they will slowly realize what such a huge threat Luna really is. Much more refreshing than the 'fuck yeah equestria luna badass' tropes.

Yeah, really surprised Celestia is effectively trading pony lives for rabbit lives.


It sounds like it was land taken from them through war, and then later colonized in an effort to keep it away from them.

Sure, it could have happened that way, but even you're phrasing it as a supposition. It's not the only interpretation or even necessarily the most likely one.

They were basically being pushed into this by Luna and couldn't even remember that they weren't ponies. They were mentally confused by an outside party.

You could see it that way. But sometimes people dream that they're someone else. When Gisele awoke, she quickly realized it was a dream and would have dealt with it in that context.

Really, neither side is completely in the right, which is often how life works.


I suppose, doesn't change the fact that the griffons owned the land originally and they simply wanted to use it as additional hunting ground.

It sounds like you're saying the griffons had some sort of right to it. Maybe they do. Both sides of it have happened in the real world to disastrous consequences. Is it reasonable to threaten war over what even they refer to as a luxury item and not a necessity, though?

I think you're getting way down in the weeds to assume Equestria has all these same ecological concerns that we do. In the show, wildlife just gets along fine, and unless it's the point of the story, it's going off on a tangent to even deal with that stuff. You have to draw the line somewhere, and saying, "Hey, wildlife management isn't a thing" is a valid stance for a story to take. If you have a lot of thoughts about how the ecology works, why not write a story about it? Could be interesting.

That'd be a strange jumping-off point to declare it an AU, but in any case, the only time reference is that this occurs sometime after Luna's return from exile, not necessarily during the time frame we see in Griffonstone. Or that those are the only griffons.

The griffons did jump the gun when it came to threatening war, however, Celestia was also a part of the problem. The griffons were willing to offer plenty of compensation for mere use of the land, not ownership. And it was Celestia that repeatedly refused to compromise or even negotiate with them on the matter. You can't say that Celestia was entirely blameless in that situation.


You could see it that way. But sometimes people dream that they're someone else. When Gisele awoke, she quickly realized it was a dream and would have dealt with it in that context.

If one still calls themselves a dream name, long after they've reached the battlefield. That's not a very normal dream in context.

On the point of the dream, it's still mind magic.
Luna effectively manipulated Children as a means of war. Add to the fact the supposed dangers of such magic said in canon and the blatant evil or malignant nature of the act, I'd say Celestia and Luna are going to have a lot of problems the next time they need help from another nation.

I wpuld write the story, but I'm not particularly skilled and lack, well, drive for it. It'd turn into a mess and at this point in time research alone would eat up most of my free time.

8421786 Rarity does say rather specifically "A griffon! How rare!" in "Griffon the Brushoff". That DOES speak rather specifically to how common they are in Equestria. And then given that the Griffon Kingdom is rather a small place... it seems a much larger leap of logic to suddenly assume they have the numbers to be a threat to the ponies. It'd be the similar to declaring a giant army of minotaurs sweeping over the entire country to be consistent with canon, given we have seen exactly one minotaur and there is no suggestion that a minotaur nation exists at all.

And, like I said, there is the issue with the griffons obviously being omnivores. The conflict simply doesn't feel natural to the world as presented in the show when all details given thus far are taken into consideration. This idea would work better as an alt universe, with some more establishment of the historical and geopolitical differences to set it apart.


I'd say Celestia and Luna are going to have a lot of problems the next time they need help from another nation.

What other nation would they even need help from? Given the magical powers the ponies possess, if any nation manages to overcome them, the rest are screwed by default. It'd be like the USA calling for help from Ethiopia to stop an invasion by the Borg. It's THAT level of skewed.

I suppose you could say the dragons miiiiiight be helpful... but that assumes the dragons really are magically-resistant and the attackers don't use magic and somehow defeat the ponies regardless (perhaps if the invaders are also magically-immune). But, then we must ask ourselves if the dragons would withstand the non-magical weaponry these mysterious invaders would be using, or would even help the ponies under any circumstances.

It's asking a LOT of questions with very nebulous and rarified information from which to draw any conclusions.

But in any basic circumstance, it's almost certain that a foe capable of defeating Equestria would have little to fear from the world's other inhabitants. For instance: Tirek. He basically became more powerful than Discord and larger than most of the dragons. What the heck could have stopped him at that point other than the Deus Ex Machina solution we got?

Compitent military planning by a supposed century old ruler?
I mean, canonicly the guard are worthless against even a marginaly organized threat, and Celestia has such little control of her own magic she can't blast Chrysalis for fear of people more then thirty feet away being hurt.
I'd argue that without a moral high ground for the elements/rainbow power to work, they don't stand a chance against any military force.
They rely on deus ex machina's for everything, so a situation where they can't?
That'd be a death sentence.

8422989 Mmm-hmm... and compared to that, what could the other races offer in the least? They don't even have any Deus Ex Machinas to help them. Against NMM, Discord, Tirek, Sombra... what hope would any of the other species have? From what we have seen of them, they possess nothing that could even touch any of those 4 antagonists. And the changelings, when enemies, certainly had massive tactical advantages of their own. We now even see that they can assume forms far larger and stronger than their natural bodies. This puts them in a position to fight even dragons with brute force, not to mention their other powers.

As I said, other than possibly dragons, the other sapient species would be utterly crushed by the super-powered foes the ponies have faced. Asking them for help would be a pointless act.

The only enemy the other species could have helped against would have been Starlight Glimmer, since her Cutie Mark stealing power would be useless against creatures without a Cutie Mark. But really, she wouldn't have fared well against an army of ponies either. As soon as she was exposed as a fraud, her control collapsed and she was forced to flee.

One could say that the biggest problem is that the writing for the show has thrown enemies so powerful into the mix that ONLY a Deus Ex or McGuffin solution can stop them. It's a common problem called 'Power Creep'.

Why is everybody just now debating whether or not non-consensual mind magic is alright or not? In the actual show it's already been established that in Equestria murder is most certainly way worse, with mind control not only being a crime punishable by little more than a slap on the wrist (or whatever the pony equivalent of a wrist is), but also that the spells which would allow any unicorn to control another sentient being are readily available in public libraries.

Anyway, this story was good. Yay.

Compitent milatary and proper armor/weapons?
Most of the threats Equestria's faced could be fought of or bartered with.
They just refuse to budge because conformity is a lynchpin of their society.
Since most other races don't depend on their magic for being a capable entity, they'd probably have carved Tirek up in a bloody conflict, if Celestia's lack luster planning hadn't screwed the world at go.
Chrysalis is cruel, power hungry and Tyranical, but potentially a powerful ally if you can/are willing to make an offer she couldn't refuse through compromise.
Discord honestly shouldn't have A) been stored in a public place, better to have him in a sealed, airless chamber lined with nullification runes and under a few feet of stone, and B) be made an ally through whats all but blackmail.
Nightmare moon/Luna is in the same level of "What where you thinking?!" As Discord.
Most of the other threats wouldn't exist for the elements not actually solving problems but rather playing the game of out of sight out of mind to start with so again, not being dependent on ancient artifacts and magic has probably made evry other race a tad bit more capable then the ponies are.

Correction, mind magic is excusable if you are A) a ruler, B) have a familial bond with the highest ranking official in the land(nepotism and corruption of justice), or C) the highest ranked official feels they can get a use out of you so they all but wipe the slate clean.

None of these are really respectable actions and honestly are why overall I find the main caste dissapointing nowadays. They get treated like saints even after they do some pretty hefty damage.

8423295 You remind me an awful lot of the sort of dimwits in the League of Nations who thought they could appease Adolf Hitler.

You know NOTHING of what lurks in the mind of tyrants.

So you are going to turn this into an insult game?
If so i'll not oblige.

And as for appeasement, how about the fact that Celestia and Luna by controling the sun and moln can all but destroy a civilization at will?
Would you not call Luna's manipulation of children a tyrants act, underhanded and without any form of nobility or honor?

Or the elements and the many other artifacts that they've hoarded despite having ko claim to them?

Or mayhaps Discord being given a second chance despite being through and theough a tyrant himself?

All of this is a case of pot meet kettle, not shining knight vs demon from hell.


Would you not call Luna's manipulation of children a tyrants act, underhanded and without any form of nobility or honor?

Sooooo, anyone who manipulates children for political gain is tyrannical then, ehhhhh? (waits for you to fall into the trap) :trollestia:

What trap?
Child soldiers' are a thing and I find any propaganda of any kind to both be the disgusting tripe of ignorant fools and two faced politicians
Being vague doesn't give you a point to make it means you want to be manipulative.
Kindly make your point or don't reply.

8424683 All advertising to children is manipulating them. In fact, even teaching them is manipulating them! There's no way around it! Everything instructional is a form of direct manipulation!

...you really missed the entire point.
Like, not even by a country mile. By an entire continent.
Teaching a child basic lifeskills isn't manipulations, it's a requirement for them to survive.
Using them to further a political agenda as combatants and sleeper agents, via what amounts to at the least a form of mind control, is so far from the basic requirements of child care and rearing that it falls into abuse and psychological warfare.
Honestly, if you subscribe to the mere concept of teaching a child how function, in any way is equivalent to tampering with their minds through magic or scientific/technological means you don't have a single foot to stand on and this discussion is done.

8425351 Nope! I'm right because all social programming is bad! Children should be free to do whatever they want because they are wiser than adults!

(wonders if you're getting the hint yet)

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